Happy 10th Birthday, Resident Evil 4!
Resident Evil 4 turns 10 today. Time sure does fly, and I can’t help but feel a little old now (it’s okay, I’m only 24)! Whereas other gamers were raised with the likes of Nintendo mascots like Mario and Link on the NES, I was brought up with Chris, Claire, Jill, and Leon in Raccoon City. I would spend hours playing the PlayStation originals and replaying them multiple times. Resident Evil became something more than just a game series, it was injected into my blood and continues to be to this day.
I even went as far as getting a GameCube solely to play the Resident Evil Remake, Zero, and Resident Evil 4; all games that used to be exclusive to the platform (but since then, only Zero is left with Nintendo exclusivity now). During the wait for each title to release, I ended up fully immersing myself in beloved Nintendo franchises. So I have Resident Evil to thank for the Nintendo fanboy in me, too!
Then we all started seeing what type of game Resident Evil 4 would be. We saw it transform from the intriguing hook-man prototype into what we have now. And what a transformation it was. Not just from that spooky first iteration but also from what the series used to be before the game hit. Resident Evil 4 paved the way for modern AAA horror titles and even third person shooters. When you look at games like Dead Space and Gears of War, you’ll find Resident Evil 4’s influence. The over-the-shoulder, third person view changed everything for the series and moved us out of the fixed camera angle perspective of the classic games. Without a doubt, Resident Evil 4 went on to become a classic. It was praised highly by critics and it’s now available on almost every game console out there (no current-gen editions yet!). It has become my go-to game when the game release schedule becomes dry. I always find myself playing the game at least a couple of times a year.
The number of times I’ve replayed Resident Evil 4 is quite possibly in the triple digits across all the platforms I own it on. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing today, replaying this classic. It’s a game that for me, like Resident Evil 2, doesn’t seem to get old. Though now I do have to mention something a bit on the negative side in regards to the game. For all intents and purposes, Resident Evil 4 set the series on an action-oriented route, resulting in Resident Evil 5 and ultimately Resident Evil 6. Whereas 4 has an expertly balanced delivery of horror and action, its numbered successors geared more towards the latter, resulting in a divide in the fan base. Regardless, that doesn’t tarnish the overall legacy of Leon’s big adventure to save the President’s daughter.
A decade has passed and Resident Evil 4 continues to stand the test of time. Sure, you can’t move and shoot like gamers expect from modern games, but that limitation really helped add to the game’s sense of dread and tension. Capcom fueled the birth of mainstream survival horror with the original Resident Evil, and with Resident Evil 4 they evolved the genre. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game one day. Despite what people say about ports, Resident Evil 4 deserves to be played by all. Here’s to another decade!